Project Awakened Update

Anyone who has been following the Project Awakened Kickstarter will probably know by now that it has not been successfully funded. After the campaign ended, however, Phosphor Games has apparently been inundated with requests to make the campaign longer or add a PayPal option. In response, they’ve started a survey on the Project Awakened website to try and find out how much if they undertook another campaign. The survey asks whether you would pledge if the started taking pledges again, and how much you would pledge.

Basic gunplay in UE3 prototype

Basic gun play in UE3 prototype

The survey sets several targets for funding, rather lower than the project’s original goals on their Kickstarter page. Where the Kickstarter set a minimum of $500,000, the survey promises the game will begin development with between $350,000 and $500,000 promised. Full details follow:

If you tell us you will pledge…
$0 – $350K (around the amount we received during the Kickstarter campaign): while we will be eternally grateful for your support of our vision, we will be unable to take your funding. The project will be returned to the drawing board and continue on the long road it has been traveling on.

$350K – $500K:
– We will start the new 6 week fundraising campaign on http://www.projectawakened.com via credit card and paypal. We will have all the same stretch goals, and all the same reward tiers (and more!) that we had in the Kickstarter Campaign
– we will HAVE a dedicated team working on the game!
– We will commit to having the Create-a-Player Sandbox Prototype for you later this year
– We will commit to getting to Closed Beta on Project Awakened by late 2014.

$500-600K
– Everything above, and we’ll move the closed beta up to the first half of 2014

$600K +
– We start working on all of the stretch goals for beta. This includes more single player missions, full MP support, better modding support, etc. Whatever we can get funded over time we’ll get into the game!

The Create-a-Player Sandbox Prototype mentioned above promises to be an expanded version of the Create-a-Player video released during the Kickstarter, shown below. It promises more abilities, proper outfits, more objects and AI.

With these lower funding targets, a possible point of concern is that the end product would be of lower quality. This game would, after all, only be worthwhile if it was very well-made. It is likely that the Project Awakened team expect to raise more than is promised in the survey. In any case, it is an exciting opportunity to have a chance to revive a game that has already failed funding once.

TAKE THE SURVEY: http://www.projectawakened.com/

UPDATE

They made it! Team Phosphor have announced their new campaign through the Project Awakened site and Facebook page. The campaign should last 6 weeks, based on information given during the survey. Apparently 4000 backers pledged to pre-order the game. Head on down to www.projectawakened.com on March 20 to make your pre-order.

A cropped version of the banner displayed on the Project Awakened site on March 19, 2013

A cropped version of the banner displayed on the Project Awakened site on March 19, 2013

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Project Awakened UE4 Demo

Up until now, everything we’ve seen from Phosphor Games’ ambitious Kickstarter, Project Awakened has been part of their Unreal Engine 3 prototype, but as of today, we finally have a video of what they’ve achieved so far in the new Unreal Engine 4.

Image released along with the video

Image released along with the video

The new video starts up with a bit of background on the Project Awakened universe, then proceeds to show off some how some of the powers available will look and how they’ll affect a character’s arm. It then begins showing off some of the many costume pieces available to create and customise your unique character.

Burning hand from the UE4 tech demo.

Burning hand from the UE4 tech demo.

Altogether, the demo is pretty impressive. I have to admit I’m surprised by the graphical quality showcased here. So, without further ado, here’s the video for you to check out yourself.

SUPPORT PROJECT AWAKENED! BACK THE KICKSTARTER: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1312036782/project-awakened

VOTE ON STEAM GREENLIGHT: http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=126109020

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Kickstarter: Project Awakened

Recently, I’ve gotten in to backing Kickstarters, and the latest of these is Project AwakenedKickstarter is a crowd funding source where a creator posts a project that they want to make or finish but can’t afford to, and asks people to pledge money to their game, normally in exchange for tiered rewards like a copy of the finished product, digital art books, wallpapers and things like that. Projects have about a month to gather funds on Kickstarter, and after that month is up, if the project’s goal has been met, the pledge money is charged, so you only end up paying if the project makes its target. I think Kickstarter is a particularly great thing for games because it allows developers to create games that a publisher would probably not be willing to pick up, like genres which are considered dead, or games that allegedly have “no market.”

A screenshot from the prototype in Unreal 3. The final game will be in Unreal 4.

Now, on to Project Awakened. Phosphor Games, a studio comprised of ex-Midway Games workers, want to make a third person action game like no other. Their concept exists in a slightly altered time line where several scientific advances were made in our recent history meaning that now, we have the ability to fully unlock human potential, i.e. super powers. When Midway was dissolved, they were working on a similar game, known as Hero. Project Awakened offers incredibly character customisation, with the ability to combine any powers in the game (which is looking like it’s gonna have almost anything you could dream up) to make your perfect hero. Instead of setting boundaries on the gameplay, it asks us as players to decide how to approach different scenarios.

Various sword use powers have been promised in addition to the standard fare.

The first thing I thought when I heard about the scope of this game was how ambitious it is. I’ve seen many games which promised a lot, but even if they did deliver, the finished product was lacking polish, or sometimes just not any fun. I was incredibly sceptical when I first looked at this Kickstarter, but after watching the video, I actually believe that they can probably pull this up. In any case, when the lowest reward tier that gets you a copy of the game is $25, or if you’re quick enough, the $20 early-bird deal, it’s probably well worth any risk.

For a prototype, I’m pretty impressed with the visuals.

I’d love to see this game get made. There’s so much potential here, and to my knowledge, there’s no game like it yet. Even if you’re not interested in backing it, please share the Kickstarter and/or Steam Greenlight links below, because I’m sure you know someone who is. Help get the word out.

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1312036782/project-awakened

http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=126109020

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Dear Esther

This game is incredible. Such impact. I don’t think I’ve ever played a game with such a deeply effective story.

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The voice acting is perfect. The game wouldn’t have been the same without Nigel Carrington’s tortured narration.
The aesthetics are top-notch too. There is a lot of attention paid to detail, and the world around you is rendered in near perfect detail.
As far as gameplay, well, there’s not a lot, apart from looking around and exploring, but having to hug cliffs so you don’t fall and being able to look at what you want, when you want adds a lot, especially seeing at there are things written around that help flesh out the story and position you emotionally.

I feel I should mention the story itself, but there’s not a lot I can say without spoiling it. I’ll just tell you that it explores the themes of love, loss, death and old age.

Don’t play this if you’re looking for a game, but if you want something more like an interactive movie, I can reccommend nothing more highly.

I don’t think I’ve missed anything here, but if there’s anything you want to ask me, post it in the comments.

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Lunar Flight

One thing you should know about me is that underneath the layer of being a “cool”, rock musician, I’m actually a massive nerd, and I dream of going in to space, so when I got my hands on this game, I was pretty pleased.

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It’s a really great game. Once you get past the initial hurdle of working out how not to crash, the intuitive controls and realistic physics make this game a thoroughly unique and unforgettable experience.

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The music sets up the appropriate feeling of anticipation that should accompany space travel and the world feels quite rich and beautiful, which is impressive considering that there’s really only grey in the pallet. Except for on Mars. Then there’s only rust.

The only thing I can say against this game is that with only 4 mission types, there’s not much variety to be had. There are four maps, including Mars, so that does lend it some longevity. I would recommend you try and get all the Steam achievements, if you’re lacking a goal.

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Lunar Flight offers an authentic-feeling moon exploration experience and a good execution challenge if ever I saw one. It’s well worth the money.

As before, if you want to know anything I haven’t told you, let me know in the comments and I’ll see what I remember.

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Star Trek Online

I highly reccomend this game, at least to any Star Trek (or maybe space simulator) fans. I had heard this game was one to miss, so I didn’t try it for a long time, even when it was free. Oh, how much time I wasted… What this game does that is rare, albeit not unique, is feels like Star Trek. The attention to detail is, for me, what makes it.

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My second ship, the I.S.S. Jormangandf. It was meant to be U.S.S Jormangarndr, but the U and the R got cut off, as you can see.

A common complaint I heard was that the basic combat is lame. I actually found the space combat to be very tactical. The basic difficulty setting feels true to the show, but I recommend playing it on the next up. This means that the game actually provides some challenge. You need to think about how to position your ship, so that no shield facing (of which there are four) is worn down so much that your hull is exposed. Phasers are most effective against shields and torpedos are effective against the hull. There are a variety of different types of weapons, all based on things from the show. You move in a 3D space, although you’re limited by having to be the “right” way up. I was pleasantly surprised to find that ships handle like they should, with a bulky starship, like the Enterprise D laboriously heaving itself about while science ships or tactical ships like the Defiant can skip about much more fluently.

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Battle Damage on a Defiant class.

The ground combat is completely missable. In fact, it often becomes simply annoying in the higher difficulty. You can play it top down like an MMO, or from an over-the-shoulder view like a third-person shooter. It’s important to note, however, that your fire doesn’t go where you aim, but auto-locks to the enemy you’re targeting.

The only thing I can complain about aesthetically is the faces. While they’re pleasantly stylised for humans, many of the alien races just look like humans with some lame retexturing, and I found this very jarring, breaking any immersion I felt. Everything else looks like it should, especially the ships.

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A Klingon Bird of Prey about to jump to warp.

The best thing I can say about this game is that if you like Star Trek, it’s probably worth checking out. On the surface, it’s a fairly standard MMO, although the ship movement adds a distinguishing game play element. For fans of Star Trek: Bridge Commander or its Kobayashi-Maru mod, this is the closest I’ve come to feeling like a Starfleet captain since I stopped playing that game.

I know I’ve skipped some things so if you want to know anything about the game, ask me in the comments and I’ll tell you as best I remember.

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Salutations

So, you’ve found my blog, eh? I figured I’d take a moment to talk about myself and what I plan to do with this page.

I’m called Lion. It’s a nickname, given to me because of my mane-like hair, and probably the fact that I always land on my feet. I picked it up during high-school, where I studied to be an engineer. That… didn’t really go so well. I hated high school. I’m well acquainted with the art of procrastination, and my grades weren’t really up to scratch. I took a gap year (or several) before finally deciding that I wanted to study music at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, or WAAPA as it shall henceforth be known, and studied contemporary music. This was one of the best things I ever did. I made some great friends, learned a lot, and it gave me a bit more of a direction.

In addition to this blog, I have a band, although we’re still practising, so we don’t do many gigs.

Now, on to gaming. My first console was a Nintendo 64 with Star Wars: Pod Racer. I loved it. I’d played Mario and Sonic at a friend’s house, and it was great to finally have a console of my own.

These days, I mostly play shooters, but I love just about any type of game, if it ticks the right boxes. I also love it when games have good music. Music can add so much to any given moment, if used correctly. Narrative is important to me, although gameplay is probably more so. I have slugged through plenty of games for a good story, though.

With this blog, I intend to publish game reviews, and anything I have to say, mostly about or tangentially related to games. To give you something to read, I’m gonna post all the reccomendations I’ve written on Steam, because they read like mini-reviews anyway.

I think that’s more than enough from me for now. If you’ve read this far, thanks, and I hope in the time to come, I’ll be able to provide you with some useful information.

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